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« | Home | »

If Fedor doesn’t fight Overeem, will he still remain the #1 Heavyweight fighter?

By Zach Arnold | May 17, 2010

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Steve Cofield started this discussion on Sunday and Dave Meltzer also alluded to this on his radio show late Saturday night:

“Overeem’s been running through everyone. I mean, like, ever since he moved to Heavyweight and ever since he went, I guess once his weight hit 230 and now it’s 253, which is actually down from 261, but I mean ever since he’s been past 230, man, he’s just throwing people around. He’s just wasting them and he wasted (Brett) Rogers, you know, and he looked good.

I mean he… I really would like to see Overeem in there with you know your cream-of-the-crop heavyweights. It would be interesting. I mean, he’s a pretty good submission guy when it comes to the ground. He can throw people around. His stand-up is very good, you know, I mean probably of all the heavyweights in MMA he may have the best stand-up, you know it would be interesting to see him and Junior Dos Santos, I guess that would be the big one. But you know he’d be a fight for anyone, I mean at least on paper and I’d like to see some of them and you know again whatever happens with Fedor and Werdum, put it this way — if Fedor beats Werdum and then Fedor avoids Overeem, I think that will be the black mark that will move Fedor down where people will go, ‘OK, he’s not number one any more,’ he’s going to have to take that fight you know or leave and fight whoever the UFC champion is, but at that point… After this fight with Werdum, to me this is Fedor’s last non-championship fight or people are just going to go, ‘OK, you know it’s like, you can’t make any more excuses now.’

So, that’s… that’s the Fall. You know, Fedor’s either going to fight Overeem or he’s going to jump his contract and go to UFC and fight you know Brock Lesnar or Shane Carwin, you know, so Fedor’s going to be at the end of this year Fedor will either prove that he’s #1 or he will not prove that he’s #1, but he ain’t getting out of this year still being #1 by avoiding that fight, that’s my opinion.”

There are two separate questions here:

  1. If Fedor doesn’t fight Alistair, will he still be #1?
  2. How would Alistair (theoretically) fare against the Top 10 Heavyweights in the world?

Let’s start with the first question. Given that Overeem is a legitimate Top 10 fighter (and one who I’ve voted in the 6-8 range for a while now) right now in an MMA Heavyweight class that lacks a lot of depth, you have to say that if Fedor doesn’t fight him that he’s no longer the number one Heavyweight in the world. I don’t think there’s much argument about that. Outside of the UFC Heavyweights, Overeem is one of the few guys left for Fedor (Barnett’s the other) who pose mild-to-difficult challenges for the Russian.

The other question is far more interesting to explore. Let’s look at the Independent World MMA Rankings from May and use it as a guide here:

Based on what I stated up above, Overeem is in that 5-to-8 range (which is where I had him in the first place). I don’t think he could be the UFC Heavyweight champion, but I do think Overeem could give all those guys a real fight and cause a lot of wins and losses to be traded back and forth with all the top guys.

Do I think we will see Overeem in UFC? Dana White would unlikely allow him to do K-1 and I think that would be the deal-breaker, unfortunately.

Topics: MMA, Media, StrikeForce, UFC, Zach Arnold | 64 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

64 Responses to “If Fedor doesn’t fight Overeem, will he still remain the #1 Heavyweight fighter?”

  1. mmafcg says:

    1) It’s good to see Overeem finally getting some credit for possibly being the most skilled heavyweight in MMA, rather than the usual whining about his opponents/steroid use.

    2) If Fedor beats Werdum, why wouldn’t the Overeem fight happen? I remember a lot of talk about Fedor ducking Sylvia, Arlovski and Barnett as well.

    3) It’s absurd that Werdum is considered a really easy fight for anyone. In the year 2010, he is considerably better than someone like “60/40″ Nougeira.

    • Jeff says:

      Nogueira beat him before and he’d beat him again. Werdum’s boxing is still bad, and he wouldn’t be able to dominate on the ground against Nog. Same result as last time.

  2. Overeem isn’t the guy I want to see him fight. Is it an interesting fight? I guess. I’ll watch. I mean, hey, its Fedor. But as I often compare him to Joe Calzaghe, this is basically his version of the Charles Brewer defense.

  3. 45 Huddle says:

    1) Yes, if Fedor Emelianenko ducks Alistair Overeem, the winner of Lesnar/Carwin by default becomes the #1 Heavyweight in the world. Sort of a dubious way of taking over the #1 spot, but I don’t see any other way to treat the situation. Fedor has already avoided the UFC, which contains the next 5 to 6 top challengers. To then avoid the top ranked guy outside of the UFC would be the final straw.

    2) What were you doing ranking Overeem before this Saturday? Rankings should be based on what has happened. Not what you THINK could happen. Overeem had no business in any Top 10 before Saturday’s event. His biggest win was against Paul Buentello. No offense, but I think you kill some of your credibility by releasing that information.

    3) I’m still not sold on Overeem against all of the Heavyweights. I think he would beat Fedor, but that is only because Fedor’s skills have probably diminished like Cro Cop’s and Nogueira’s. And I think Overeem would beat Mir, who can’t take a punch. But he would struggle against the rest of the guys in the UFC. Overeem’s biggest weakness is that he absolutely crumbles under pressure. That won’t change just because he is bigger. And with all that weight on, he is always a gassing risk.

    Lesnar, Carwin, JDS, & Velasquez would all beat him.

    When guys have like 10 losses on their record, they aren’t going to change. People thinking this is some new fighter are dilusional. It’s just like Chael Sonnen. The guy still is a HUGE risk of being submitted in every fight he is in. The only reason he is #2 is because of some matchmaking with non-submission threats.

    But I’m not going to act like Sonnen is some fighter he is not. People need to do the same about Overeem.

    • I can think of a big difference between Overeem of old and the current form. Its about 25-30lbs of muscle mass. Aside from that I totally agree regarding him as a fighter.

      My expectation is that Fedor wins again, probably by submission. Then we sit around until someone leaves the UFC and becomes the new top opponent for Fedor. Maybe that’s JDS? Who knows.

  4. Mark says:

    I am continued to be endlessly amused by Overeem becoming the Great Dutch Hope overnight to beat Fedor after 2 years of non-stop complaining about him being ranked too highly. Anybody Fedor fights becomes the golden boy of the internet MMA community, the guy who is going to finally expose him so they can finally go to every forum in existence to tell the planet “I KNEW HE WAS OVERRATED!” It’s an obsession. Even Tim Sylvia suddenly became beloved for the weeks leading up to their fight. Are we going to see a 360 turnaround with people complaining Overeem is ranked too low suddenly? That would be hilarious. And remember, he beat the same Brett Rogers people were saying wasn’t worthy of a Fedor fight or his ranking after their fight.

    He won’t beat Fedor. His chin isn’t as good as Fedor’s, his grappling isn’t as good as Fedor’s, he’s certainly not the gameplanner Fedor is. He’ll spend the fight paranoid about being taken down, hesitant to engage and when he does will wind up eating nasty counterpunches.

    • klown says:

      Overeem’s ranking has shot up because he just defeated a top ten fighter in Rogers. Not because he is a future opponent of Fedor’s!

      How is this is a “turnaround” for people who previously ranked Overeem near the bottom of the Top 25, on account of him holding NO WINS against ranked opponents in the weight class? It’s actually quite consistent, but I’m glad you’re amused :)

      • Mark says:

        But he beat a ranked opponent who was just as disrespected by the Zuffaites as he was. There was just as much non-stop complaining that Brett Rogers was only ranked top 10 because everybody but themselves online hates the UFC and will over-rank all non-UFC fighters out of spite. And after the Fedor fight where he got dropped with one punch people were calling for Rogers to be eliminated from top 10 ranking.

        The point as nothing to do with stupid number rankings (I know you take those really seriously, but I don’t.) It has everything to do with overstating success to fit into an agenda that is the absurd part. And this ranks right up there with the doublespeak of “Nogueira is worthless!” “OMG did you see that awesome victory Velasquez got over Nogueira? That achievement solidifies the UFC’s heavyweights!”

  5. Bob says:

    Not a real big fan of Overeem, but given what we have seen unfold in the LHW division, if the circumstances are right I think Overeem could be HW champ.

    Like Zach wrote, I think Overeem would do well against Velasquez who would probably do well against Brock. So the question becomes “could he become and then stay HW champion”. To that I would “no”.

    Assuming Fedor beats Werdum, and then goes and fights Josh Barnett (and wins)- I’d still have him as #1.

  6. Robert Poole says:

    I think Fedor could remain #1 if he does in fact beat Werdum and then Barnett later this year. But I sort of think his ranking is contingent on him beating Werdum AND either Barnett or Overeem because he’s pretty much beat up on a bunch of washed up guys (or never will bes in the case of Rogers)over the past couple of years and could use a win over a relevant top 10 Heavyweight to keep his top ranking alive.

    That being said, once he beats Werdum and Barnett say this year and Overeem and maybe Giant Silva next year, who will be left if he doesn’t sign with UFC? Lashley? Is that guy ever going to take his career seriously enough to take some tough competition?

  7. Kyle says:

    Overeem may be the most skilled kickboxer in the heavyweight division, but there’s a big difference between that and being the most skilled fighter. I give him zero chance against any of the three big wrestlers at the top of the UFC pile. If you want to see what those fights would look like, just go look at GSP vs. Hardy or Koscheck vs. Daley.

  8. klown says:

    Zach, it’s interesting how, before the fight with Rogers, you weren’t comfortable revealing what your own vote for Overeem was. Now that Overeem has legitimately broken into the Top 10 by beating Rogers, you come out and admit you had him up there all along.

    People have different ranking philosophies and I’m OK with that, but please admit that your own ranking method is at odds with the claim made by the ranking body you’re a founding member of – to base the rankings on actual results, not hypothetical fantasy match-ups.

    When this issue has come up in the past, you indicated that you questioned whether some members of the body were not adhering to the agreed-upon system. But now you’ve revealed that you, yourself were deviating from the established guideline, at least in the case of Overeem. Just wanted to state that for the record.

    • The Gaijin says:

      Oh my god…talk about taking the interwebZ waaaaaaaaayyyyyy TOO SERIOUSLY.

      Exactly what “record” are you stating this for anyways? Your web browser history and cache? LOL.

      • klown says:

        Hey man, if the subject interests you, contribute meaningfully, and if it doesn’t interest you, why troll?

        • The Gaijin says:

          You’re right – I do apologize that was rather trollish on my part.

          But honestly, it just came off as being rather pedantic getting a bee in your bonnet over internet fighter rankings and their mission statements. They are imperfect, they will always be subject to someones personal bias/subjective opinion and in the end they’re just the opinions of a collcetion of internet pundits (no offence to those who are involved). They’re no better or worse than any type of sports polling/voting, be it the NCAA football rankings, MVP balloting in the major sports, etc.

        • klown says:

          Thanks for answering.

          I’m not overly worked up about it, I’m just one of those ranking-nerds who enjoys making rankings and debating them with like-minded peeps! And I figure an MMA blog posting that touches on rankings is the right place to engage in the discussion, no?

    • Zach Arnold says:

      Regarding Independent World MMA Rankings, I can’t publish my ballot. Against the committee rules.

      But I can certainly talk in generalities about where I voted fighters. The debate on Overeem is actually an old one on this site — I’ve defended his ranking in the 5-8ish range in Heavyweights before the Rogers fight and I took a beating on the site for doing so. Remember, the rankings list with IWMMA excludes guys like Barnett due to steroid suspensions and inactivity (not fighting within the past year), so combine that with a lack of worldwide depth in the division and Overeem is where he is.

  9. Zack says:

    Alistair beats Mir 10/10…every other fight listed there i’d give pretty even odds.

    Dave’s diatribe was a whole lot of speculation. M-1 said they’d take the Allistar fight…why not link to that story?

    http://mmajunkie.com/news/19170/m-1-global-fedor-not-looking-past-werdum-but-open-to-fight-with-overeem.mma

  10. Mr.Roadblock says:

    The thing no one has mentioned is that Rogers beating Arlovski is the best thing to ever happen to Strikeforce.

    Rogers has a very thin resume. Aside from beating Arlovski he’s got a worse resume than Roy Nelson (who yes, lost to Arlovski).

    Rogers beats Arlovski then gets to fight Fedor. He’s a Top 10 guy. Overeem destroys him and solidifies his rating as what? #5-7 or so HW?

    I’m still not sold on Overeem. He’s very similar to Mir in my eyes. Very good to excellent fighter. Several ways he can beat you. But not at the elite level of the division.

    Brett Rogers is a very obvious fighter to me. If you stand directly in front of him you will get hit in the face hard. If you do anything other than stand directly in front of him you will give him big problems.

    That said I’m curious to see how far Overeem can go at HW. I’d like to see him in there with the other multi-tool, gigantic athletes such as Brock, CArwin, JDS and even the ‘new-look’ Mir. I think he’d be a fun test for Fedor before Fedor hopefully goes and fights those guys too.

  11. Isaiah says:

    I don’t think rankings should be used to punish fighters for matchmaking decisions. If someone else shows that he deserves to be ranked over Fedor, he should, but Fedor shouldn’t lose a spot just because he fights one guy rather than another. If he stops fighting good competition, obviously, it becomes easier for someone to pass him, but that’s not the same as just saying “He’s not fighting X, therefore, he should be dropped.”

    I also think a lot of people are badly underestimating Overeem. Someone like Carwin or Mir has absolutely no chance against him. I’ll be maxing out my betting if either of those fights ever happen. With Brock, it’ll come down to Brock’s ability to survive the opening round and then gradually wear Overeem down, but I don’t think he can do it.

    Also, generally, Zach, I’m surprised at how tight a range all the odds you give are. Would you say that most fights between contenders are that close or do you think Overeem is unusual in that there are no top fighters who match up well with him or who he matches up well with? Just trying to get a sense for how you think about things generally so I can have a better understanding of how you regard him.

    • 45 Huddle says:

      Carwin has not shot at Overeem?

      Did you see Overeem in Pride? Did you see what happened to him under pressure?

      • Isaiah says:

        I don’t even see Carwin putting him under pressure, and I think Overeem has matured since then anyway.

    • Zach Arnold says:

      Also, generally, Zach, I’m surprised at how tight a range all the odds you give are. Would you say that most fights between contenders are that close or do you think Overeem is unusual in that there are no top fighters who match up well with him or who he matches up well with? Just trying to get a sense for how you think about things generally so I can have a better understanding of how you regard him.

      I think with Overeem and the UFC Heavyweights, things are so close that you can get a different result any time any of them fought each other. I really think it’s very competitive.

      As far as predicting MMA outcomes in general, the only one stat that I believe to be reliable in terms of a “lock” is the 70/30 rule for re-matches or third encounters, which is the winner of the first one has a 70% chance of winning the second bout.

      • Isaiah says:

        Thanks, Zach.

        BTW, I’ve been a believer of that 70/30 thing with boxing, but during the Machida/Shogun fight, the announcers pointed out that in the UFC, rematches are exactly 50/50 (excluding draws). Shogun tilted things a little toward the losers of the first fight. Seems like a pretty large sample, too.

        • Did they say how many fights they pulled from? I’d love to do the analyzing myself. Would be a little odd though, since there are rematches from other promotions within the UFC (Rampage/Silva 3, for instance).

        • jj says:

          I think they said it was 27 or 28 rematches. 13 won by the loser of the first, 13 won by the winner of the first, and 1 or 2 were draws.

        • It didn’t take me long to find this:

          http://themmacritic.blogspot.com/2006/12/ufc-rematch-by-numbers.html

          If they did in fact use a lower number, then I think it would be interesting to see what the criteria they used was.

        • edub says:

          Well I’m bored so Ill map it out off the noggin’; includes affliction and pride:

          BJ/GSP 2- Winner won
          BJ/Uno 2- Draw
          BJ/Hughes 2- Loser won
          BJ/Pulver 2- Loser won
          Hughes/GSP 2- Loser won
          Hughes/GSP 3- Winner of second fight won
          Koscheck/Diego 2- Loser won(First was exhibition so this one probably shouldnt count but Im entering it none the less.)
          Maynard/Diaz 2- Loser won(Same as Koscheck-Diego)
          Bonnar/Griffin 2- Winner won
          Chuck/Tito 2- Winner won
          Chuck/Randy 2- Loser won
          Chuck/Randy 3- Winner of second fight won
          Chuck/Babalu 2- Winner won
          Chael/Horn 3- Horn pwns Sonnen(Winner won)
          Horn/Chuck 2- Loser won
          Diaz/Jackson 3- Winner of second fight won
          Randy/Vitor 2- Loser won
          Randy/Vitor 3- Winner of 1st match won
          Wand/Saku 2- Winner won
          Wand/Saku 3- Winner swept
          Lesnar/Mir 2- Loser won
          Rampage/Chuck 2- Winner won
          Sylvia/Arlovski 2- Loser won
          Sylvia/Arlovski 3- Winner of 2nd fight won
          Wand/Rampage 2- Winner won
          Wand/Rampage 3- Loser of 1st 2 won
          Wand/Arona 2- Loser won
          Barnett/Nog 2- Loser won
          Barnett/ Crocop 2- Winner won
          Frye/Coleman 2- Winner won
          Coleman/Rua 2- Loser won
          Hallman/Hughes 2- Winner won
          Franklin/Tanner 2- Winner won
          Anderson/Franklin 2- Winner won
          Frye/Hall 2- Winner won
          Frye/Hall 3- Winner swept
          Ken/Tito 2- Winner won
          Ken/Tito 3- Winner swept
          Frye/Goodrich 2- Winner won
          Ken/Severn 2- Loser won
          Ken/Gracie 2- Draw
          Stout/Fisher 2- Loser won

          Thats most of them I think. I looked up Frye but everything else is off the top of my head.

          Out of a possible 32 rematches the guy who won in the first fight won 15 times, and the guy who lost, won 15 times with 2 draws. Out of the 10 trilogies there were 5 sweeps, 3 that had the fighter losing in the first fight win the last 2, 1 with the fighter losing the 1st 2 fights win the last one, and 1 where a fighter only won the second fight.

          To me this shows the 70/30 really doesnt make since…

        • I combined and added some WEC fights.

          Ken Shamrock vs. Kimo Leopaldo 2 Winner Won
          Dan Severn vs. Oleg Taktarov 2 Winner Won
          Oleg Taktarov vs. Dave Beneteau 2 Winner Won
          Pedro Rizzo vs. Tra Telligman 2 Winner Won
          Randy Couture vs. Pedro Rizzo 2 Winner won
          Fabiano Iha vs. LaVerne Clarke 2 Loser Won
          Don Frye vs. Mark Hall 2 Winner Won
          Don Frye vs. Gary Goodridge 2 Winner Won
          Guy Mezger vs. Tito Ortiz 2 Loser Won
          Shonie Carter vs. Matt Serra 2 Loser Won
          Matt Lindland vs. Phil Baroni 2 Winner Won
          Matt Lindland vs. Falaniko Vitale 2 Loser Won
          Evan Tanner vs. Phil Baroni 2 Winner Won
          Matt Hughes vs. Carlos Newton 2 Winner Won
          Matt Hughes vs. Frank Trigg 2 Winner Won
          Forrest Griffin vs. Stephan Bonnar 2 Winner Won
          Frank Mir vs. Wes Sims 2 Winner Won
          BJ/GSP 2- Winner won
          BJ/Uno 2- Draw
          BJ/Hughes 2- Loser won
          BJ/Pulver 2- Loser won
          Hughes/GSP 2- Loser won
          Hughes/GSP 3- Winner of second fight won
          Koscheck/Diego 2- Loser won(First was exhibition so this one probably shouldnt count but Im entering it none the less.)
          Maynard/Diaz 2- Loser won(Same as Koscheck-Diego)
          Bonnar/Griffin 2- Winner won
          Chuck/Tito 2- Winner won
          Chuck/Randy 2- Loser won
          Chuck/Randy 3- Winner of second fight won
          Chuck/Babalu 2- Winner won
          Chael/Horn 3- Horn pwns Sonnen(Winner won)
          Horn/Chuck 2- Loser won
          Diaz/Jackson 3- Winner of second fight won
          Randy/Vitor 2- Loser won
          Randy/Vitor 3- Winner of 1st match won
          Wand/Saku 2- Winner won
          Wand/Saku 3- Winner swept
          Lesnar/Mir 2- Loser won
          Rampage/Chuck 2- Winner won
          Sylvia/Arlovski 2- Loser won
          Sylvia/Arlovski 3- Winner of 2nd fight won
          Wand/Rampage 2- Winner won
          Wand/Rampage 3- Loser of 1st 2 won
          Wand/Arona 2- Loser won
          Barnett/Nog 2- Loser won
          Barnett/ Crocop 2- Winner won
          Frye/Coleman 2- Winner won
          Coleman/Rua 2- Loser won
          Hallman/Hughes 2- Winner won
          Franklin/Tanner 2- Winner won
          Anderson/Franklin 2- Winner won
          Frye/Hall 2- Winner won
          Frye/Hall 3- Winner swept
          Ken/Tito 2- Winner won
          Ken/Tito 3- Winner swept
          Frye/Goodrich 2- Winner won
          Ken/Severn 2- Loser won
          Ken/Gracie 2- Draw
          Stout/Fisher 2- Loser won
          Faber/Pulver 2- Winner Won
          Faber/Brown 2- Winner Won
          Sonnen/Filho 2 – Loser Won
          Cantwell/Stann 2 – Loser Won
          Henderson/Cerrone 2 – Winner Won
          J. Jackson/Nick Diaz 3 – Winner Won

          Just doing a rough check and I get it being about 60/40 for UFC/PRIDE. If you expanded it further, I think you’d probably stay the same at least at that level. Now, if you start to look at the sport holistically, I think that stat changes big time. Just look at Travis Fulton’s record as for why.

  12. edub says:

    Miscellaneous things:

    -Overeem shouldn’t have been ranked over #9 for this event, but now he should be as I believe Roadblock said above around 5-7. Hindsight is always 20/20 so there is really no point about arguing rankings “before” certain events take place.

    -Overeem provides a real test style wise to about every HW in the world. His clinch is other worldly. He ragdolled Brett Rogers to the ground and Brett is a 265-270 lb man. In the first round if a fighter can’t make him take a step backwards, then they are in a lot of trouble. As 45 said we still havent seen him pressured, except against Hari in their second kickboxing match.

    -I would have Carwin, Lesnar, and Cain as favorites if they were to get in the ring/cage with Overeem. Even if he beats Fedor. That wrestling pedigree with guys that size just provides too much of an advantage when they go up against fighters with lesser backgrounds. I believe he would smash right thru Mir, unless Mir could weather the early storm and get him tired( how bout that, Mir trying to tire out another fighter ). Down the road I think Overeem and Duffee would be a pretty good fight too.

    -I think if Fedor beats Werdum and Overeem he deserves to stay at the top spot, but if he gets thru Werdum and doesnt have a fight lined up with Overeem or someone in the UFC by Jan 2011; than he should drop down. Now to what number he should drop down too, I dont know.

    • I’d like to see Carwin really have to shoot and take someone down, TBH. He generally ends up banging dudes out standing, and against Overeem that likely wouldn’t go so well. I remember back to the Gonzaga fight – he can be hurt.

      Lesnar/Carwin is not automatically #1 or anything close to it in my eyes, given Lesnar’s inactivity. He will have 2 fights in a period of 18 months; should he really be rewarded for that?

      • edub says:

        Thats a great point Alan.

        I guess you would have to take into account opponents rankings and time frames. Mir was 2-4 in the world at the time of his trouncing. If he beats Carwin he beats another top 5 HW. combine that with the win over Couture and you have a guy whos faced three (arguable) top 5 fighters in the world in his last three fights. Granted that’s over a very long time frame.

        I guess I just give him more of a benefit of the doubt rather than say someone who fights more but against much lesser competition.

        I also understand you point about Carwin and standup. The thing is Overeem is usually a pressure oriented guy. Even with his K1 matches he is always trying to bully people around in the clinch and use his knees. He usually gets hit. If he tries to do that to Carwin and he takes even a glancing shot on the chin he will go down.

        I don’t know if it’s his power or accuracy(or possibly a combination of both), but whenever Carwin lands, flush or not, his opponents seem to crumble.

        • I guess I just give him more of a benefit of the doubt rather than say someone who fights more but against much lesser competition.

          I can’t give him that. Lesnar is obviously a great athlete and physical specimen, and I think he’s a real tough guy for Fedor to beat. But I refuse on principle to give a fighter with 2 fights in 18 months and 5 fights in his entire career the “benefit of the doubt”, particularly when over the same time frame Fedor has a win over a fighter who was then ranked #2 almost universally at the time.

          I also understand you point about Carwin and standup. The thing is Overeem is usually a pressure oriented guy. Even with his K1 matches he is always trying to bully people around in the clinch and use his knees. He usually gets hit. If he tries to do that to Carwin and he takes even a glancing shot on the chin he will go down.

          Carwin would hardly have a massive size advantage, and I think if he did shoot, it would be a great opportunity for Overeem to win by choke. As far as him landing – definitely true. But he hasn’t really fought a great striker. There just isn’t anyone truly like Overeem in the UFC so far as melding standup with legitimate takedown defense and submission skill is concerned.

          Overeem is a theoretical problem for anyone who steps in the ring with him, just as Junior Dos Santos is right now.
          Until we see either in with a really skilled top control grappler, I don’t know that we’ll know what either is really made of until then either. Fedor is that sort of guy for Overeem, and I really think that Roy Nelson is that sort of fight for JDS.

        • edub says:

          Fedor does have that win, but it was almost a year and a half ago. Fedor hasn’t exactly fought that often either.

          I would also have to say that to rank lesnar higher tahn Fedor it would have to be a certain scenario. First Fedor would either lose to Werdum, or he would fail to have a fight signed with Overeem by Jan 2011. Also the winner of Carwin/Lesnar would have to defend the title against Cain by the same date as above.

        • 45 Huddle says:

          Come on Alan. You and I both know that Arlovski had no business being ranked #2. Just because the media was pushing an agenda, doesn’t mean Arlovski was the rightful #2 fighter in the world.

          Fedor has not beaten a LEGIT Top 5 fighter since Mirko Filipovic in August 2005.

        • 45 Huddle says:

          And Overeem was a theoretical problem for anybody who fought him in Pride. On paper, he had all the tools to win most of his fights.

          And guess what? He wilted under the pressure time and time again. Muscles don’t add heart. It adds stamina problems, but that is it.

          Carwin is a pressure fighter. We all know how Overeem handles pressure. Velasquez is relentless. We all know how Overeem handles that.

        • Fedor does have that win, but it was almost a year and a half ago. Fedor hasn’t exactly fought that often either.
          I would also have to say that to rank lesnar higher tahn Fedor it would have to be a certain scenario. First Fedor would either lose to Werdum, or he would fail to have a fight signed with Overeem by Jan 2011. Also the winner of Carwin/Lesnar would have to defend the title against Cain by the same date as above.

          Look at it this way: Last year, GSP twice. Once was against the lightweight champion, the other against a guy who was a consensus #1 contender. This year, he’ll fight twice. Once against a guy who was #5-7, the other time against a guy who’s #4-6. So he’s looking at a year and a half between fights against the legitimate top contender. and only two fights in between. Is it really that different?

          Meanwhile, Fedor/Overeem is the kind of fight fraught with peril to make. For all we know, Overeem gets KOed in 2 minutes by Antonio Silva in September; then does Fedor drop out of the top spot because he didn’t fight Overeem?

        • Come on Alan. You and I both know that Arlovski had no business being ranked #2. Just because the media was pushing an agenda, doesn’t mean Arlovski was the rightful #2 fighter in the world.

          And I’d argue as always that there was no agenda. He left the UFC the top title contender at the time. Inactivity for some, his own wins and guys losing around him led him to the #2 spot. Blaming an Anti-UFC conspiracy may be a favorite of yours, but isn’t topical here. You yourself have to invoke “exceptions” to your own rules not to end up coming to similar conclusions.

          Now, subsequently, he’s lost fights. Well, have other fighters that were further up the rankings then. So will other fighters that have high rankings now; see Sonnen, Chael. It is what it is.

        • edub says:

          Yea Alan is right.

          Arlovski destroyed Rothwell and Nelson(Garbage stand up, or not) back to back(who were both top 10 at the time I believe), and this is after he beat Werdum and O’brien in the UFC.

          Big Nog lost, Cro Cop lost, Gonzaga lost, Couture lost Sylvia got beat twice, Barnetts only credible win was against Rizzo at the time, and Lesnar and Mir still hadn’t fought yet.

          Arlovski’s spot at number two was warranted.

        • 45 Huddle says:

          There was an agenda by WAMMA to rank Arlovski #2 so they could justify Fedor winning their belt. So don’t tell me there wasn’t an agenda.

          You don’t move up the rankings just by other fighters losing. It doesn’t work that way. If that was the case, then we could basically pick anybody on a win streak against lesser competition and put them higher and higher in the rankings as other fighters tested themselves against top level guys.

          Arlovski was never in the Top 5 when he was in the UFC. Top contender in that division or not. He never was in the Top 5 during his UFC days. That is a fact. Pride always occupied the Top 5 and Sylvia and Arlovski were outside of it. And Arlovski was always below Sylvia because Sylvia had beaten him twice in a row.

          Arlovski then leaves the UFC, beats 2 borderline Top 10 guys (at best), and then goes up to #2? It was a joke then, and it’s even more of a joke now when people try to justify it as Fedor fighting some real top level competition.

          Fedor has not fought a Top 5 guy since August 2005.

        • WAMMA didn’t single handedly control BE or Sherdog’s rankings. Yet there he was. He was also #2 for Inside MMA and Fight Magazine. In face, WAMMA didn’t even have Arlovski #2.

        • 45 Huddle says:

          you are technically right. They didn’t have him ranked #2. They had him ranked #1, because Fedor was in their championship slot….

          http://www.mmachump.com/mma/2009/01/january-wamma-rankings-before-affliction-dor/

          WAMMA pushed this idea of Arlovski being #2. Sherdog, who has hated Dana White for years went along for the ride. Even to this day their writings are extremely slanted against the UFC.

          And technically, BE’s rankings would have included WAMMA’s. So yes, it would have slanted it.

          The sole idea of Arlovski being ranked so high was introduced by WAMMA to justify their belt. Once it hit the biased MMA Media, it took off like wildfire.

        • I looked up the last set of rankings BE did before the fight where Arlovski ranked #2; WAMMA hadn’t updated yet for the Noguiera loss and thus he was #2 and Arlovski #3. In fact, only two of the 23 ranking sets they took from had Arlovski lower than #4. More than half ranked him at #2, most without WAMMA influence.

          So for virtually every major rankings group, he was #2. For virtually everyone but some seriously fringe names (Inside Fighting?) in the MMA world, Arlovski was Top 5. Facts are facts.

        • Isaiah says:

          Yeah, it’s ridiculous. Fedor’s been fighting top-ranked guys and then he gets his wins retroactively downgraded and people are like, “when is Fedor going to face anyone GOOD?”

          Why don’t people question how Mir got to be so highly ranked on the basis of a single win over a shot Nog and then ask that about Brock? Or Cain after beating an undersized, one-dimensional, past-prime gatekeeper and a shot Nog?

          I think it’s clear that the UFC made a deliberate effort to cut costs in the division and try to build from scratch, and it’s pathetic the way the media and fans have fallen in line and started to treat anyone who’s previously had success in the division as suspect until they prove themselves against the top prospects, who have not proven anything themselves.

  13. Isaiah says:

    Alan, they did say the exact numbers. I don’t recall what they are, though.

  14. EJ says:

    Pretty irrelevant question if you ask me, whoever wins between Brock and Carwin will be the number 1 HW in the world as far as me and people who don’t drink the Fedor kool-aid goes.

    • Mark says:

      You mean people who drink enough of the Zuffa Kool Aid to excuse a guy who has been laid up for a full year versus a guy who has only beaten 2 top 10 fighters fighting for the #1 ranking. Oh, and ironically Brock has only beaten 2 top 10 fighters in his career as well. Say what you want about Fedor, but pick a better example.

      • 45 Huddle says:

        The winner of Lesnar/Carwin would have beaten TWO Top 5 fighters in the the last year.

        Fedor hasn’t beaten a Top 5 fighter since August 2005.

  15. EJ says:

    “You mean people who drink enough of the Zuffa Kool Aid to excuse a guy who has been laid up for a full year versus a guy who has only beaten 2 top 10 fighters fighting for the #1 ranking. Oh, and ironically Brock has only beaten 2 top 10 fighters in his career as well. Say what you want about Fedor, but pick a better example.”

    Last time I checked Lesnar wasn’t taking off time because of contract disputes or other bs like Fedor he was ill. Now Fedor on the other hand took off 3 years from fighting a top 10 contender and somehow remained #1, if that isn’t bathing in kool-aid I don’t know what is. Brock is the champion of the premier mma org in the world with the most stacked HW’s in the world. A win over Carwin makes him unquestionably the best HW in the world, ditto if Carwin is able to defeat Lesnar.

    • Isaiah says:

      Oh God, this place is turning into Sherdog.

      “Fedor hasn’t faced a top-whatever contender since CroCop. Oh, those times when he did, yeah, they don’t count. They were only ranked because of a conspiracy against the most powerful promoter in the sport. Everyone knows that all the major MMA Web sites want to be on Zuffa’s bad side for the, uh, indy cred it gives them.”

    • Mark says:

      I’m not defending Fedor’s recent opponents, but come on, a guy who beat Mir, beat Couture and the unranked Herring fighting a guy who fought a bunch of cans before Gonzaga and Mir cannot be #1.

      I’ll agree with what Dave Meltzer said last night: Fedor deserves to be #1 because nobody else has any accomplishments to match him yet. If one of the UFC Heavyweights beats all of the other heavyweights and Fedor continues to fight questionable opponents, then yes, they’d deserve the #1 ranking. That hasn’t happened yet. Instead of that you have a bunch of guys who haven’t even fought each other yet to prove who is the best of their group that people think should be top ranked just because they like the UFC better. And hopefully by next year we see Carwin/JDS/Velasquez/Lesnar all fight each other.

  16. IceMuncher says:

    The winner of the Carwin/Lesnar/Velasquez triangle is a much bigger deal than people seem to realize. Actually witnessing it unfold is going to have a much deeper impact than theorizing about possible outcomes.

    To try to visualize the impact of the UFC title, think about Arlovski. Everyone plays him up as a great former UFC champion, but he only has 3 victories in UFC title fights (Justin Eilers, lol). Lesnar would have 4 UFC title victories if he beats Carwin and Velasquez. Carwin would have 2 (3 if you count interim belts), as well as having a perfect 14-0 record featuring (at least) 12 1st round finishes. Velasquez would have the weakest case for #1, but that’s fine because he would sort of “inherit” Carwin and Lesnar’s success by proving he’s better than them.

    If the winner also happens to win these matches in dominate fashion, which only requires the fight to end with a finish, there will be a lot of debate calling for the UFC guy as #1, even if Fedor fights and beats Overeem.

  17. Alex Sean says:

    I dunno if I’m entirely sold on Lesnar, Carwin, and Velasquez as much as others seem to be. They’re certainly in the top tier of the division, no doubt, but I’m inclined to put Fedor, Alistair, and Barnett over them.

    With Brock, everyone seems to be 100% sold on that he is an unstoppable wrestler and will pin everyone in the division down and kill them. This, however, has yet to be validated because the only guy he’s been able to do that is a notoriously bad wrestler in Frank Mir who also historically can’t take a whole lot of heavy shots and specifically trained to be lighter for that particular fight.

    I’m reminded of how after Machida destroyed Rashad Evans, everyone was certain that Machida was the future of the LHW division, that the Karate style was going to beat everyone for years to come, and how Machida was the best striker at 205. But this was all based on a fight where Machida defeated a guy who, by conventional martial arts standards, is not a particularly good striker. The second Machida fought a legitimate striker, he got dominated for 25 minutes then obliterated in the rematch in less than four.

    Am I saying for sure that Brock Lesnar isn’t what people believe he is? No. But it’s yet to be proven. He was completely unable to do anything close to what he did to Mir to Randy Couture, and while granted Brock won that fight, he was clearly getting outworked in the clinch, was noticeably gassed, and was even getting outstruck. A lot of time has passed since that fight and if Brock can do what he did to Frank to Carwin, I’ll be sold as well, but as of right now I don’t think you can say with any level of certainty that what Brock Lesnar did to Frank Mir applies to any of the other top guys in the division.

    When it comes to Carwin and Velasquez, let’s keep in mind that the first time either of these guys fought anything resembling upper-level strikers in the division, they both nearly were knocked out. Velasquez, notably, three times in one fight. While it’s possible their wrestling could stifle Alistair’s strikes, considering how talented he is at submissions and how suspect those guys’ chins are, I just have a hard time picturing Alistair losing those fights unless it’s just a fluky KO of some kind.

  18. EJ says:

    Velasquez and Carwin have suspect chins now?, Cain took massive shots from Kongo and not only survived by ended up putting him on his back and delivering gnp. And while Carwin got rocked by Gonzaga well we know what Napao can do standing for all his faults he hits hard.

    The fact is Alistair hasn’t been put on him back pressed up against a cage and pounded to oblivion, you can have all the great submissions you want. But when you have great wrestlers on top of you it’s awhole other world, Overeem would get taken down gassed and stopped let’s not run away with his hype after overhyping Rogers.

    • Alex Sean says:

      It’s not like I’m the first guy to point out that the first time either of these guys have been hit clean they went down, EJ. I’ll give Carwin all the credit in the world for not only surviving a bad situation but turning it around in the fashion he did, and I’ll give Cain all the credit in the world for recovering from those shots and putting on what was, for the most part, a complete domination of Cheick Kongo. But, as Daniel Faraday would say; What happened, happened, and those guys almost getting knocked out happened.

      You could very well be right that Cain and Shane’s wrestling would allow them to pummel Alistair into the fence and pound him out. On the same token, there could be Aliens, Unicorns, Bigfoot, and the Lochness Monster. Just because something could be possible doesn’t mean it’s going to happen and until I see either of those guys face opponents with the same size and skills as Alistair and do what you say they will be able to do to him to them (couldn’t have possibly worded than any worse), I’m not about to sign off on it. What we have seen is that Alistair is one of the best strikers in the sport. This is a guy who dominated Peter Aerts who is one of the greatest kickboxers of all time. We have also seen that Alistair is great at submissions, has brutal top control, and is very strong.

      To summarize, Cain and Shane are impressive and are top guys but I do not believe they would defeat Alistair Overeem based on what we have seen. That could certainly change after seeing how Carwin/Lesnar goes down and, I assume, the winner of that bout’s match with Velasquez, but just based off of what we have seen I’m picking Alistair over both of them.

  19. edub says:

    “What happened, happened, and those guys almost getting knocked out happened.”

    I think you should look at how impressive it is to weather assaults like that and come out on top. Fedor hasnt exactly been untouchable in his career. He got rocked to all hell by Fujita, he got hit a whole bunch on his feet against Arlovski, and he took some big BIG shots against Rogers. Not to mention getting slammed on his head by Randleman. Please don’t take this statement to say that Carwin and Cain are on Fedor’s level yet, because they are not.

    I just feel experiencing adversity and fighting thru it should be looked at as a good thing.

    • Alex Sean says:

      I did say that I give them both a lot of credit for surviving those bad situations, edub. But with that said, that doesn’t change what happened and you also have to remember that part of the reason those guys survived is that their opponents did not have the tools to really follow up on what they had and finish them. It’s worth asking if Alistair Overeem hurt either guy like that, would he be able to finish the fight where Gonzaga and Kongo weren’t? My money is on Alistair.

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